Holly Williams

Holly Williams, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Menlo Park

Dr. Williams’ expertise is grounded in optics and spectroscopy. She is skilled in areas related to lasers, optical system design, electronics, and instrumentation development. At Exponent, her work has focused on safety assessments of laser-containing devices and characterization of optical materials. Her experience spans continuous wave and pulsed laser sources (i.e. Ti:Sapph, Nd:YAD, VCSEL) and linear, non-linear, and specialty optical elements. She has also used spectroscopy to optically characterize a variety of material defects.

At the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Williams devised and implemented femtosecond time-resolved laser experiments using photoelectron spectroscopy in liquid microjets. Her research provided molecular-level understanding of the processes by which low energy electrons initiate DNA damage. To accomplish these experiments, she built custom setups which integrated lasers, optical materials, and mechanical and electrical components with automated data acquisition and analysis. She also developed a table-top XUV generation source.

Her areas of expertise include:

  • Custom optical and optomechanical system design.
  • Optical materials characterization techniques (i.e. FTIR, Fluorescence, Colorimetry).
  • Hardware instrumentation and automation.
  • Design of custom test fixtures with CAD and SolidWorks.
  • Signal processing in Matlab and Python.


  • Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 2017
  • B.S., Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2012


Williams HL, Erickson BA, Neumark DM. Time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy of adenosine and adenosine monophosphate photodeactivation dynamics in water microjets. The Journal of Chemical Physics 2018; 148:194303.

Elkins MH, Williams HL, Neumark DM. Isotope effect on hydrated electron relaxation dynamics studied with time-resolved liquid jet photoelectron spectroscopy. The Journal of Chemical Physics 2016; 144:184503.

Elkins MH, Williams HL, Neumark DM. Dynamics of electron solvation in methanol: Excited state relaxation and generation by charge-transfer-to-solvent. The Journal of Chemical Physics 2015; 143:234501.

Elkins MH, Williams HL, Shreve AT, Neumark DM. Relaxation mechanism of the hydrated electron. Science 2013; 342:1496.


Kraus PM, Williams HL, Chang HT, Kaplan CJ, Zurch M, Borja LJ, Jager MF, Cushing S, Neumark DM, Leone SR. Attosecond dynamics in photoexcited germanium and liquid microjets. Poster presentation, Joint Attosecond Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Annual Meeting, University of Arizona, AZ, 2016.

Williams HL, Elkins MH, Pruyne JG, Neumark DM. Toward electron attachment to DNA components. Poster presentation, Gordon Research Conference: Photoionization and Photodetachment, Il Ciocco, Italy, 2016.

Williams HL. Time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy of liquid microjets, Gordon Research Seminar: Atomic and Molecular Interactions, Stonehill College, MA, 2014.

Williams HL, Elkins MH, Neumark DM. Relaxation dynamics of the hydrated electron, Pacific Conference on Spectroscopy and Dynamics, Pacific Grove, CA, 2014.


  • Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 2017
  • B.S., Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2012